Friday, November 14, 2008

rain expected all day

The rain started yesterday, but at least it started late so the horses had time in the field and the donkeys had some time in the paddock before they all had to come in. It let up some just before dark, and my daughter took the geldings in the arena and did a group free lunge session so they could get some exercise, giving me three empty stalls to muck and top off with new shavings.

Today it's supposed to rain pretty much nonstop, and it's always a challenge to keep everyone in the barn content.

I don't like anyone to have to stand in stalls for too long without moving around a bit, so we play musical stalls and give everyone a turn on the side of the barn with the shelter. The donkeys have the barn aisle to march around in, but that gets old when it lasts an entire night, a full day, and another night. But at least they're not stuck in stalls all that time.

If the rain lets up we try to give some time in the arena. The footing drains really well out there, and the screenings mixed in with the sand do a good job of cleaning the feet out.

We'll listen to NPR and feed hay and keep waters topped off and clean. And since it's so warm right now, I won't fuss if the geldings choose to go out and stand in the rain in the field. Tomorrow the cold front comes through, and hopefully sunshine with it, as the hardest combination is rain and cold wind.

This is one of those days when I'd love to have a barn with double-sized stalls and adjoining paddocks with partial shelters, that all opened to a central area, where I could have some comfy chairs, a desk, lamplight, and a small kitchen to make horse cookies and hot tea.


the7msn said...

You know, I thought about making a trip to North Carolina today, but I think I'll just wait. Sounds like you're making the best of the weather, though. Wrap your arms around those two little donkeys and give 'em a great big dry hug from me.

billie said...

The donkeys helped me much out every stall yesterday. Picture me, the two donkeys, and my rake in a 12x12 stall, with them right behind me every time I turned to put the muck in the wheelbarrow!

My daughter kept calling out, "are you done yet?" and I kept calling out "no!"

I have to say though, having two donkeys in my back pockets is just about the cutest thing ever.

Grey Horse Matters said...

The weather is dreary here too, but the horses don't seem to mind. As long as we don't have torrential downpours they don't care if it's a misty rain, when they get tired of it they have run-in sheds they go to. It's worse for us to leave them in they get really annoyed. The donkeys seem to be a big help with the barn work. How cute is that!

billie said...

Arlene, I just came in from taking the crew a big bowl of apple chunks and the remaining horse cookies from the big bin I keep inside.

Cody and the pony have been out and rolled, and both look awful but seem happy. Keil Bay has no desire to stand out in the rain when he has a perfectly nice stall to stand in, supplied with hay and fresh water. He took a stroll earlier when the rain let up for a bit, but came back in.

The donkeys and Salina have been surprisingly adventurous today. The donkeys walked out to the labyrinth path as far as the gate, and then marched in and out of the tree line while Salina stood by the round bale and stole hay from beneath the tarp.

Redford does not yet eat apple chunks but even after he finished his cookies he followed me around, demanding to at least be *offered* the apples, which he sniffed and said "no thanks."

The rain is incessant today - I wouldn't be surprised if I looked out to see ducks swimming across the pasture. (we actually did see this, once, and it was truly hilarious)

I'm in and out. Reading about amino acids and chelates and such. Plotting supplement rotations and de-worming schedules.

Dickens is out sleeping in a ball on top of the last little pile of hay in the barn aisle, while Salina and the donkeys step carefully around him. Mystic the cowboy-in-training is upstairs in my daughter's room, taking what I suppose is a cowboy holiday!

Victoria Cummings said...

I'll dream right along with you in that great description of the ideal barn. We got the rain yesterday, had a small break today and are supposed to get about an inch tomorrow. Siete can't go anywhere, but her mama was so happy to kick up her heels for a bit this morning. Better rain than snow!

billie said...

Victoria, sending more good thoughts to Siete.

I have been thinking about that barn all day. :)

jme said...

oh to have the ideal barn on days like this! but it sounds like you've got a great routine and lots of happy helpers to get you through this messy weather :-) those donkeys are too cute!

i love our set-up, but we've recently acquired two more horses than we have room for, which means two have to live outside in the run-in - which would be fine except they never go in it, preferring to stand under the trees, which of course have no more leaves on them... :-\ so, out of guilt i'm going to be making some adjustments to my barn today: my big horse who has been enjoying a double stall is going to have to give up the other half (and hopefully won't get himself cast tonight!) and the grooming stall is getting converted to a temporary winter stall. right now they are all out, but the wind is whipping and the rain is not letting up, so i'm hoping this works!

billie said...

I know what you mean about re-organizing the barn, jme... we've done that twice now to make things work well for Rafer and Salina and then Redford.

Right now everyone has a stall and access to paddocks for night-time, which is pretty much ideal.

Funny about the dream barn - we were visiting folks a month or so ago who had a gorgeous "dream" barn that came pretty close to my ideal. But it didn't have the capacity for horses to have access to paddocks, and I realized even the pristine indoor areas didn't make up for that, for me.

Hope you get everyone set so you can sleep well tonight!

Re: wind/rain - an area not too far from us had severe tornado damage last night. It was predicted as a possibility but not narrowed down much as to where, so I fretted some during the night about the horses.

Right now there is a second band of wind/rain on its way, with more potential for damage, although they don't think it will be as severe.


Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Send some of that rain our way, k? We haven't seen any real rain since August and won't again until next July. I do hope we get lots of snow to raise the water levels and fill the wells, though.

You've got a great routine for keeping your equine family happy and not bored, though.
What are screenings, by the way?

We don't really have a true barn. It's more of a 3 sided shelter with an enclosed tack room and some hay storage. I'm just grateful it has lights and electricity and water. It's quite a ways from our house and up a steep hill.

Last year when our temps dropped below zero for a week, our pipes froze and burst. We had to carry buckets of water up to the barn twice a day.
Thankfully we only had the llamas then.
As you can imagine I'm praying for lots of snow, but not below zero temps this year.

But if I had to wish for any kind of barn addition, I'd dream of an indoor arena, where I could ride when the wind was blowing and snow was on the ground. And my critters could enjoy some exercise, too.

New Mexico

billie said...

Lisa, you're welcome to some of this rain. It is soooo mucky outside today, and more rain coming.

Screenings are tiny bits of stone that some folks around here mix in with sand for arena footing. It keeps the sand from abrading itself into dust so quickly, but the reason I like it is that it really stimulates the horses' hooves. One item at the top of my wish list is a huge truckload of screenings, so I can make areas for each water trough, etc.

Another item on my wish list is the indoor arena... although I think I'd be happy with just the covered one. The indoor arenas I've ridden in have been really cold in winter and still pretty hot in summer. Mainly I want to keep out the rain and have a place for horses to exercise even when it is rainy out.

Laughing Orca Ranch said...

Thanks for the screenings explanation, Billie. I can see why they'd be such a helpful thing for the horses.
I don't think we'll need to add any around here, though. Living in the mountains means plenty of 'screenings', small and larger rocks, and even some boulders peeking up from under the ground. lol!
It seems to be doing well for Baby Doll, too. My farrier says my horse's feet look like they're made of stone. :)

Oh yes, And I did mean a 'covered' not an 'indoor' arena. Silly me. I might like a wall built on one side...the windy side, but you're right about them being cold or too hot. And also the dust would be awful with no outside air circulation.

New Mexico

billie said...

Lisa, I'm envious of those New Mexico horse hooves. :)

We have some areas in our clay soil that are rocky, and I have left it that way so they can have some rocks to walk on. We also have a gravel driveway, and our trimmer suggests we walk them (not necessarily under saddle) down the driveway and back regularly to give them yet another terrain to keep the hooves strong.

I haven't been doing that lately and should get back into the habit.

There is a covered arena I've been to that I bet you would love. It is open air all around, but at the one end there are mirrors. The wonderful thing is that at the *other* end there is a forest and a row of evergreens, so that's what is always reflected in the mirrors. It's quite lovely and exactly what I would want.

Peggy Payne said...

Sorry about the over-specificity, Billie. Will check with Matthew when I'm next going to sea, which will likely be the spring.

Good luck on the new venture. I'm overworking on other people's books right now, but am close, I think, on my own...

billie said...

Thanks, Peggy - we have plans to get kayaks at some point so perhaps we will meet up "at sea" one of these days! :)

Matthew will be happy to share secret locations in the spring.